MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Mar. 23, 2020

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Maloney, Seawright to Host Virtual Town Hall on COVID-19

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney

Tonight, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens) and Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright (D-Upper East Side, Yorkville) will be joining the Four Freedoms Democratic Club (FFDC) for a virtual town hall meeting on the COVID-19 outbreak.

Aside from Maloney and Seawright, the town hall will also feature input from Dr. Dana Mazo, an infectious disease specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital, and District Leader Kim Moscaritolo. The two of them will share information on the efforts to contain the pandemic and the FFDC Neighbors Helping Neighbors program, respectively. This meeting will count as FFDC’s monthly general body meeting.

The event will take place tonight at 7 p.m. For instructions on how to join, click here.

Espaillat Calls for Americans Abroad to Return Home

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat
U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat

U.S. Rep Adriano Espaillat (D-Washington Heights, Sugar Hill) released a statement yesterday calling on all American citizens to return home from abroad – particularly those in the Dominican Republic.

The statement came soon after the Department of State issued a Global Level 4 “Do Not Travel” health advisory. Given the far-reaching nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, Americans abroad will risk having their travel plans disrupted if they don’t return soon.

“Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice,” said Espaillat.

Nadler Condemns Trump for Refusing to Lift Fetal Tissue Restrictions

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler

Last Thursday, U.S. Rep Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn) released a statement disparaging the Trump Administration for not removing the restrictions on fetal tissue research during the COVID-19 crisis.

In 2019, the Trump Administration enacted strict new restrictions on the usage of human fetal tissue for scientific research. The rule change barred government scientists working for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from conducting studies using fetal tissue. It also mandated that any scientist seeking federal funding for such studies would have to undergo a long ethics review process.

Nadler has argued that fetal tissue could prove invaluable in the effort to create a COVID-19 vaccine. Regardless, the Trump Administration has refused to budge.

“Scientists have told Congress again and again that fetal tissue is the gold standard for vaccine research,” said Nadler. “The ban on this research imposed by the Trump Administration last year has no scientific purpose, with reports showing it already impacting promising, life-saving medical research. This new report reveals that even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, the Trump administration is unwilling to set aside their dangerous anti-science bias to allow research to go forward simply because it involves fetal tissue.

“That the Trump Administration prioritizes their illogical and harmful anti-science agenda over stopping this pandemic shows once again that they would rather score political points with their anti-abortion friends than save millions of lives.”

AG James Calls for Automatic Absentee Voting in NY Primary

Attorney General of NY Letitia James
Attorney General of NY Letitia James

Yesterday, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) released a statement calling for automatic absentee voting in New York’s upcoming presidential primary.

The primary is currently slated for Tuesday, Apr. 28; however, James’ concern is that we may see low turnout due to fear of COVID-19. Her proposed solution is the suspension of all in-person voting and the delivery of absentee ballots to all New Yorkers.

“Voters shouldn’t have to choose between their health and the right to cast a ballot,” said James. “If we act now, we have more than a month before the presidential primary and numerous special elections across our state to take action and ensure every eligible New York voter receives an absentee ballot. Let’s make it easier for every voter to cast their vote without spreading the coronavirus and jeopardizing public health. Democracy should not be suspended if there is a safe alternative.”

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